Richard Dunne primed for career highlight

ASTON Villa defender Richard Dunne admits tonight's Carling Cup semi-final first leg against Blackburn at Ewood Park is the biggest club game of his career.

The Republic of Ireland player has never progressed past the last eight of any major competition.

The 30-year-old said: "I've been to a few quarter-finals but every time I thought we've got a chance of getting to Wembley, we have been knocked out.

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"I think this is the biggest club game of my career. It will be good to look back when I've retired and be able to say that I've won a medal and played at Wembley."

Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce has challenged Benni McCarthy to shrug off his frustration and steer Blackburn to the Carling Cup final. The South Africa international striker is keen to move on as he does not feel that in World Cup year he is playing enough football.

But Allardyce said: "I know and Benni knows why he is not playing as much but that is a confidential matter between the two of us. It really lies in his hands, not mine, if he wants to play more. If he puts that right he could play a major part here and help us win a cup then go on to the World Cup."